US announces MTB world's team

Olympic hopefuls aim for Fort Bill. Whopping 61 riders nominated.

With less than a month to go before the world mountain bike championships comes to Fort William, Scotland, USA Cycling yesterday announced its team for the September 3-9 event.

In the cross-country discipline, this year's world's is expected to provide a sneak peek at the favourites for the 2008 Olympics. Seven men and eight women have been nominated to the elite cross country squad.

Adam Craig (Giant) received the only automatic nomination to the men's team after winning the 2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships last month. He is joined by Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Todd Wells (GT-Hyundai) and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW), who were nominated via coaches' selection, as well as Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Carl Decker (Giant), who received discretionary nominations.

On the women's side, Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven) were automatically nominated - Koerber by virtue of her two podium performances at UCI World Cup events this year in Switzerland and Canada and McConneloug as the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Champion. Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Georgia Gould (Luna) were coaches' selections. Sue Haywood (Trek-VW), Lea Davison (Trek-VW) and Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna) received discretionary nominations. Vanlandingham and Haywood both declined their nominations and will be replaced by Kelli Emmett (Giant).

In the under-23 men's division, five athletes - Sam Jurekovic (USA Cycling National Development Team), Sam Schultz (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Colin Cares (USA Cycling National Development Team), Tad Elliott (USA Cycling National Development Team) and Mitchell Peterson (Devo) - received nominations. As the U23 national champion, Jurekovic was the lone automatic nomination, while Schultz and Cares received coaches' nominations and Elliott and Peterson were discretionary picks.

Under-23 women's national champion Chloe Forsman (Luna) was an automatic nomination to the U23 women's cross country squad and will be joined by discretionary selection Caitlyn Tuel (Trek-VW) on the two-woman team.

In the junior cross country categories, Ethan Gilmour (Devo-Okemo), Gregory Carpenter (Giant-Devo), Stephen Ettinger (Arlberg), Chris Peterson (Devo) and Tristan Cowie (Cycle Youth) will represent the men's contingent, while Stephanie White (Velo Bella) and Amy Cox (Strada) comprise the women's team. Gilmour and White were automatic nominations as national champions while the balance of the junior cross country squad was nominated as discretionary picks.

In the gravity events, Cole Bangert (Morewood-Utopia), Duncan Riffle (Honda-Iron Horse), Luke Strobel (Maxxis), Gerritt Beytagh (Morewood), T.J. Sharp (Yeti-Fox), Chris Van Dine (Cannondale The Cut) and Christopher Herndon (Specialized-Cane Creek) received nominations to the elite men's downhill team.

The women's downhill team will comprise Kathy Pruitt (Jamis), Melissa Buhl (KHS), Lisa Myklak (Leelikesbikes.com), Amelia Colosurdo (Bear Naked-Cannondale) and Darian Harvey (Durango Roughriders).

Representing the United States in four-cross competition will be Buhl, Jill Kintner (GT), Jessica Vogt (Dianese-Gamut-Fox), Tara Llanes (Giant) and Neven Steinmetz (TM Totally Wired) for the women, while Brian Lopes (GT), Ross Milan (Yeti-Fox), Eric Carter (Mongoose), Tommy Tokarczyk (Jamis) and Jeremiah Work (Bicycle Sport Shop) will make up the men's four-cross contingent. Rich Houseman (Yeti-Fox) received a discretionary selection, but declined his nomination.

In the junior downhill categories, one woman - Chrissie Pinney (Ride SFO) - and five men - JD Swanguen (Cove Bikes), Logan Binggeli (ODI), Tim Price (Specialized) and Tyler McCaul (Trek-Fox) - made the cut.

Four athletes will also represent the U.S. in the observed trials competition - Cameron Kowall (Meta Bikes), Neil Wiley, Brian Yezierski (Maxxis-661) and Dave Campbell.

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